Recently, I came across an article on BudgetTravel titled, 6 Places Germs Breed on a Plane. Sounds super fun, right?
When you travel on a plane, have you ever wondered what interesting character sat in that seat before you? The one who snoozed AND drooled on the blanket you are now wrapping up in like a cuddly cocoon? Or do you realize that the junk-food-candy-munchies that you are placing DIRECTLY onto the tray table is taking you for double time: sick from bad nutrition and sick from MRSA ?
Told you this was gonna be fun.
This begins a 6 part series of what invisible friends you can make when you fly in that metal tube in the sky. I’m not writing this with the intention to scare you, although it probably will, or make you avoid airline travel, although it probably could. I’m writing this because it’s practically holiday travel season, and do you really want someone elses snotty-nosed child infecting you with a myriad of viruses because you were blissfully unaware and checked your brain at the ticket counter? Probably not.
Germ Zone: Airplane Pillows and Blankets
For: Aspergillus niger that cause pneumonia and other infections
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As mentioned in a previous post, airplanes are metal ice boxes in the sky, with temperatures reaching what feels like Alaska winter for a Southern California girl. Who wouldn’t want a FREE comfy blanket and pillow when traveling for business or leisure?
The truth is that the pillows and blankets, unless visibly soiled, are usually reissued to the next unsuspecting passenger without being sanitized. In 2007, The Wall Street Journal reported that airlines cleaned their blankets every five to thirty days, and if you think about the frequency of flights on most carriers, who knows how many strangers you’ve gotten extra cozy with.
Every flight I work, there are always at least a handful of passengers that ask for a pillow or a blanket. When passengers roll their eyes and scrunch up their noses in disgust because, a), I tell them that they can purchase a blanket for $15, or b), that there are no blankets on this flight, I wish they knew just exactly what they were asking. Sure, I’d be happy to serve up psuedomonas paucimobilis…yuck. Instead of being rude, maybe you should say “Thank you!” You may have just avoided a plethora of diseases.
Many airlines now charge for pillows and blankets in an attempt to create a more sanitary environment and of course, to make an extra dollar or two (I think the latter carries more weight). If you are the type that expects free, but still wants comfort, bring your own blanket and pillow. At least you know who’s puddle of drool you’re sleeping in:)
To read the BudgetTravel article in its entirety, please click here.